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Small businesses seeking cash flow support as the economy recovers from COVID-19 slump

A survey found that over 70 per cent of Australian small businesses expect trading conditions to be favourable in the next three to six months. Still, over half say they will require cash flow support.

The Zip Business Survey looked at 500 Australian small businesses’ financial decisions over the last 12 months, examined their confidence in the future, and assessed the COVID-19’s impact. 

The results from the survey revealed that while small businesses are positive, the majority lack the cash flow to sustain their operations. 

According to the Study:

  • 66 per cent of small businesses used several sources of working capital to survive the pandemic. In comparison, 27 per cent relied on their savings or government grants to get by. 
  • Notably, 24 per cent used credit cards to pay off debt. Many people also borrowed money from friends and family, tapped into their superannuation, and negotiated bill and rent reductions. 
  • Around 55 per cent of small businesses in NSW and VIC, the states hardest hit by lockdowns, reported they were either losing money or just breaking even over the past 12 months. This is a 20 per cent increase over their pre-COVID-19 cash flow position. 

“Cash flow is a concern for businesses right now. At the height of the pandemic, some businesses flourished. In contrast, others had to use their savings, credit card debt or access government grants,” General Manager of Zip Business, Geof Alexander, said.

“Uneven performance like this makes accessing finance at a bank difficult because they struggle to understand the business’ true position.

“That’s why we chose to evaluate a business’s performance based on pre-COVID levels. Assisting businesses in need is why we created Zip Business.”  

The poll also indicated that BNPL as a business payment option was still in its infancy. Only 8 per cent of small businesses have used a purchase now pay later (BNPL) solution.

“Zip Business is empowering Aussie businesses to restart, and for them, it’s all about the two Cs — cash flow and confidence — and we see a huge opportunity for BNPL to help businesses to not only recover post-COVID but to thrive,” Alexander said.

SMEs can borrow from Zip Business’ BNPL solutions between $1,000 to $150,000, with approval taking anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours. 

Liquidity crunch set to continue

According to the survey, 10 per cent of businesses will be unable to raise capital. 6 per cent have no plan of attack at all, and 47 per cent will use their savings, credit card debt, a bank loan, or borrow from others.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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